Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


Geddes Garden reveals its story

An EWH funded project is revealing the hidden history of the West Port garden for visitors.

Aug 27, 2014

The garden was first established in 1910 to provide valuable green space for local children, and was inspired by the work of the influential town planner Patrick Geddes. Now a group of volunteers has come together to help tend the Garden, maintain plant boxes and interpret its history for visitors.

The garden was originally designed by Patrick Geddes’ daughter Norah, and was looked after by a team of female volunteers who also organised activities for children. There were swings, a sandpit, an area for playing football and plants donated by well-wishers. Geddes was a firm believer in the benefits for children of playing outdoors and learning about nature. In the Edwardian period there were several such gardens set up in the Old Town, but the Westport garden is now one of only a handful still remaining.

To help interpret this rich history the West Port Gardening Group has researched and complied an interpretation panel, with funding from Edinburgh World Heritage and the City of Edinburgh Council.

Below: The opening of the West Port Garden in 1910. Image courtesy of University of Strathclyde Library, Department of Archives and Special Collections.











Elspeth Wills of the West Port Gardening Group said: “When we are working in our community garden, visitors often stop to chat. They are fascinated by its history and how it started as an initiative of Patrick Geddes' Open Spaces Committee. The team of dedicated women volunteers maintained the garden as the equivalent of a play group for children living in the overcrowded slums. Thanks to support from Edinburgh World Heritage and Edinburgh Council we can now share that story with everyone who passes the entrance to the garden.”


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